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Peter Gudgeon

A bearded man holding food

Peter is often found at The Kitchen on a Saturday chatting with other participants and sometimes helping the volunteer staff in the kitchen. He freely pours into the community his attention, time and talents.

Growing up in Melbourne with two brothers and one sister, Peter learned early on about having faith in God. He has fond memories of his father and remembers both of them glued to the television as Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon.

When it was time for Peter to make some decisions about his life, his father asked him what his next step would be. Peter had already made up his mind, “Honestly, I want to go into the Army.” And off to the Army he went. Stationed at Puckapunyal, near Seymour in Victoria – he entered in as a reserve, later progressing to the regulars. He believes the army was a good move for him. It gave him a sense of direction and taught him about authority. Some people have a difficult time submitting to authority, but Peter doesn’t mind it. Instead, the challenge for Peter came every morning at 5am during basic training. He arose each morning before dawn and strapped on a full backpack and ran for 1 or 2 miles.  Peter made it through basic training and quickly learned he loved the creativity often found in cooking. He followed this passion and cooked while serving in the army for 9 years and sometimes he would cook for 800 people at a time.

His experience in the army, along with his talents and passions have equipped for the tasks he finds himself performing these days. When Peter isn’t at The Kitchen, he enjoys meeting residents at the Newmarket Retirement Village on Mondays through Thursdays while he volunteers in their kitchen for lunch. He also volunteers at Make a Wish Foundation, which he’s been doing for the last year and half, talking to the kids undergoing treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital and their parents. He feels sad when he sees people suffer, and he finds it hard when he hears that one of the children has passed away. But he has also seen how God works in difficult situations. Once he was speaking to a guy for half an hour who was upset about his son who had a rare blood disorder. He discovered the man was also a Christian, and Peter was able to encourage him at that time. The child is now recovering – “It is great to see how happy they are after things get better.” He also likes to make the kids laugh by playing the joker, “You‘ve got to have a bit of a laugh… their parents tell me thank you for making my little girl laugh.”

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